Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 6:
As many as 147 candidates in the fray for the first phase Assembly polls in Odisha have criminal cases pending against them.
This was revealed in a report prepared by the Odisha Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and shared with the media on Sunday on the basis of an analysis of the affidavits filed by 673 candidates who are contesting 70 Assembly seats in the first phase.
Samata Kranti Dal leader George Tirkey who is contesting the Biramitrapur assembly constituency has the highest number of criminal cases pending against him. He tops the list of 147 candidates who have booked in criminal cases.
The report says, of the 147 candidates with records of criminal cases, as many as 115 have admitted that they have been booked under serious charges including murder, rape, kidnapping and crimes against women.
In the party-wise break up Congress is at the top with 44 of its 70 candidates admitting that they face criminal charges. BJP comes second with 26 of its candidates facing criminal cases while 17 BJD candidates have criminal cases registered against them and 4 of 43 AAP candidates too face similar charges.
With 22 serious criminal cases including murder and attempt to murder charges against him, Tirkey tops the chart. He is followed by Ramesh Chandra Jena, the sitting Congress lawmaker from Sanakhemundi constituency with 11 cases and Basanta Kumar Bisoyi, the Congress candidate in Surada constituency with 10 cases.
As many as 26 candidates have declared in their affidavits that they have been booked in murder related cases.
In his affidavit, the sitting Congress MLA from Bijepur Subal Sahu has mentioned that he is facing a case charging him with rape.
Four candidates have declared cases against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act while 16 others have mentioned that they face charges for crimes against women.